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1968 Washington Riots

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Essay title: 1968 Washington Riots

1968 Washington Riots


Scene 1: # Street U and 13th

36 years have passed since the DC riot. This is the place where thirteen people died and thousands were injured during a three day riot.

Nowadays, we cannot find any trace of the riot that occurred at that time.

Only the elderly people still have the memory of the day of the riot.

# old pedestrian ;

“at that time I was 22, park police…all this are burnt down…”

The younger generation does not know what happened here.

# young people.

“I read this only in the book….it’s 1970 or something….”

We visited an old hot dog and chili restaurant. This restaurant was opened way before this riot took place. We can learn from the owner what actually happened after the riot.

# the owner of that hot dog and chili

Q1: the business?



# the scene : DC riot picture (black and white)

The Washington Riots in 1968 were a pivotal point for African-Americans in the District of Columbia. It was a culminating event after years of extreme highs and lows in the Civil Rights Movement. Incredible strides in the struggle to seek racial equality had been achieved. However, the struggle was not over and there was much work to be done.

# File picture Dr. king’s death.

…..narrator voice in the file film……..

The African-American community reached a boiling point with the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4th, 1968. In reaction to his death 100 cities nationwide exploded in rioting.

Prior to King’s death, many factors contributed to a nation polarized by racial and economic inequality. Four factors contributed to the polarization of minority and majority communities in the months leading up to the riots. These factors include unequal opportunities for education, housing, and employment and the negative relationships between police and black civilians.

Immediately following the riots some of these needs were addressed. However, these four factors continue to create disproportionately resourced minority and majority communities today.

Even in this election these factors were not addressed by the both parties.

#scene conference :Robert Woodson….”even republican and democrat the black problem never addressed..”

The persistence of these inequalities over so many years has led to a society that is built on and structured by the perpetuation of these inequalities.

In the following film we will look at the immediate responses by the government and the communities to these factors that contributed to the riots. Then we will address the status of the four contributing factors today in minority communities in Washington, D.C. Finally, we will summarize the status of the nation including the polarization between cultural groups that existed in the 1960’s and examples of how this polarization continues today.


#scene: After the riot…. Soldiers checked the passers by and …

Senator Robert Kennedy speech ..”please calm down..”

In Washington D.C. during the months immediately after the riots pockets of violence continued sporadically and was stopped with powerful police retaliation. The city responded to persons affected by the riots by meeting their immediate needs of food, temporary housing, and some employment opportunities. President Johnson was able to pass the Fair Housing Act seven days after Dr. King’s assassination. However, the underlying long-term issues of economic and racial inequality were not addressed.

This was made apparent as persons argued and refused to rebuild the damaged communities. Some organizations gave rebuilding grants but others like the Black United Front fought to keep riot affected communities black owned and run in

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